Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today announced the availability of BlackBerry(R) Enterprise Server 5.0 - the next generation of RIM’s secure, push-based server software for business mobility. Version 5.0 supports advanced IT administration features and smartphone controls that help improve the productivity of mobile workers and more effectively meet the demands of large-scale, mission critical enterprise deployments.
BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 enables a secure, centrally managed link between BlackBerry(R) smartphones and enterprise systems, applications, corporate phone environments (with BlackBerry(R) Mobile Voice System) and wireless networks. It tightly integrates with IBM(R) Lotus(R) Domino(R), Microsoft(R) Exchange(R), and Novell(R) GroupWise(R), and is designed to provide highly secure access to email, organizer data, instant messaging, voice (via BlackBerry MVS), browser and other enterprise applications. It also provides advanced security features and administrative tools that simplify the management and use of the BlackBerry(R) solution within the enterprise.
"We are proud to unveil the next generation of BlackBerry Enterprise Server software," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM. "BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 significantly raises the bar for advanced IT manageability, high availability, system monitoring and reporting. It has undergone testing in real world environments for over a year and is available now for customers."
BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 Enhancements and Key Features
BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 provides enhanced IT management and administration features, including:
- BlackBerry(R) Administration Service, a new administration component with a web-based user interface that provides centralized management, monitoring and control of smartphone deployments and the complete BlackBerry system environment. IT staff can easily access the BlackBerry Administration Service from an Internet Explorer web browser.
- Role-based access controls allow IT administrators to delegate tasks to IT staff, either individuals or groups, and control access to IT functionality. Screen consoles display only the functions that are available to the individual IT administrator.
- Over-The-Air application deployment and device software updates can be better managed and controlled with job scheduling and throttling.
- IT administrative task scheduling supports the deployment of device, application and server updates at times that can help minimize impact on smartphone users and business operations.
- Mobile application management and deployment enhancements support the efficient management and control of applications across smartphone deployments, allowing IT administrators to:
- Publish updates and optional applications that are available for download by smartphone users.
- Push mandatory applications or updates to individuals or groups of users.
- Identify "disallowed" applications to prevent smartphone users from downloading prohibited applications.
- Simplified IT policy management allows IT administrators to create groups of smartphone users and nested groups, then apply IT policies or perform IT tasks for one or more groups, in addition to applying policies to individuals.
- Approximately 450 IT policies that can be applied to individuals or groups of smartphone users, ranging from enforcing smartphone password protection and controlling access to third party smartphone applications, to controlling the use of specific smartphone features, such as using a camera or video recording.
- System health monitoring provides a unified, color-coded view of the BlackBerry environment, both server and user related, for the easy identification of potential issues.
- Advanced reporting features, including trending, chart analysis and server statistics, provide a comprehensive view into the overall health of the BlackBerry system environment. BlackBerry Enterprise Server also stores up to 56 weeks of health scores for historical trending analysis.
- Built-in high availability and automated failover allows IT administrators to set BlackBerry Enterprise Server to automatically issue alerts and then failover to a standby server when certain thresholds are met. Load balancing between the primary and standby server is an option for some shared service components like the Attachment Service. Manual failover from the primary server to the standby server is an option for IT administrators to perform planned maintenance tasks without affecting smartphone service.
- BlackBerry Enterprise Transporter Tool makes upgrading to BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 easy and seamless. It streamlines the transfer of multiple user accounts from one BlackBerry Enterprise Server domain to another without impact to or action required by end users.
"The smartphone is essential for enterprises looking to improve employee productivity, accessibility, and responsiveness in today’s economic environment," said Chris Hazelton, Research Director, Mobile and Wireless at The 451 Group. "As smartphones take on greater relevance in the enterprise and deployments grow, the demands on IT departments grow exponentially, making manageability, control and high availability must-haves in the supporting mobile infrastructure."
Support for New Smartphone Features
BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 supports all current BlackBerry smartphones and supports the following smartphone features with BlackBerry Device Software 5.0(i):
- Remote access to Windows network file shares to allow smartphone users to securely retrieve, view, edit and email documents from behind the firewall.
- Flag emails for follow-up in the same way that flags are used in Microsoft Outlook(R).
- Create, move, browse, rename and delete email folders directly from the smartphone, and view and attach files from those folders to emails sent from the smartphone.
- View attachments in a meeting request or calendar entry, and forward calendar appointments with attachments.
- Easily manage personal and public distribution lists.
- Use of Calendar Meeting Delegation for IBM(R) Lotus(R) Domino(R), which allows attendees to delegate invitations to others from their BlackBerry smartphones.
In Use Today
BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 has undergone testing in real world environments for over a year, and is in use today at a number of organizations in North America and Europe, including IBM (www.ibm.com), Linklaters (www.linklaters.com), Metro Group (www.metro-ag.com), Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP (www.osler.com), Reed Smith LLP (www.reedsmith.com), and Tayside Fire and Rescue (www.taysidefire.gov.uk).
RIM itself has also been running BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 and has more than 10,000 employees connected on the new version. The majority of RIM employees were migrated to version 5.0 using the new BlackBerry Enterprise Transporter tool.
"The new capabilities for handling applications in BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 are exciting," said Todd Belt, CTO of IBM Mobile Enterprise Services. "These capabilities are of tremendous significance to our enterprise customers as they continue to adopt mobile applications to meet their business needs."
"BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 is ready for a production environment," said Paul Williamson, Systems Management Engineer at Linklaters. "Having piloted the new solution for over a year, the benefits are obvious. Access to the new console from a web browser makes remote administration very easy and the high availability options have worked extremely well since day one. Our overall experience with it has been excellent."
"Metro Group has been successfully trialing BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 for 18 months and we are currently using it to run and manage over 1,500 employees’ BlackBerry smartphones," said Ernst Lueckerath, Head of Global Communication and Security at MGI METRO Group Information Technology. "One of the key benefits of BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 is high availability, meaning that we can reliably and instantly switch servers to manage issues, or for regulated maintenance and upgrades, without impacting our employees’ BlackBerry service."
"The upgrade to BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 was one of the easiest we have ever performed. Totally flawless!" said Roosevelt J. Russell Jr., Remote Computing Analyst at Reed Smith LLP.
"BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 has been successfully tested and deployed within Tayside Fire and Rescue and we are impressed with the new administrative features," said Gary Bellfield, ICT Manager at Tayside Fire and Rescue. "Having true high availability built into the platform has given us further peace of mind as we rely on our BlackBerry smartphones to help support the life-critical emergency services we provide."
New Support Programs and Services
RIM is also announcing today new technical support, professional services, and training and certification programs to help BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 customers achieve the best possible performance and return on investment from their BlackBerry smartphone deployments:
- BlackBerry(R) Technical Support Services - www.blackberry.com/btss - offers a new tiered program with varying degrees of support to meet the range of customer needs. New services include Change Management Planning, Health Check Services and Direct to Level Two Support Resources.
- BlackBerry(R) Migration Planning Services - www.blackberry.com/professional_services - are designed to help organizations plan their upgrade to BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.
- BlackBerry(R) Training and Certification Programs for BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 are planned for availability in the third quarter of this year. For more information about training for new administrators, visit www.blackberry.com/training. For more information about certification for administrators of BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0, visit www.blackberry.com/certification.
"RIM’s new professional services, support and training programs have helped us prepare for our transition to BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0," said Peter Bier, CIO, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. "The RIM team analyzed our mobility needs and our IT staff’s preparedness to determine the right system setup, training requirements, level of support and migration plan that would ensure a smooth transition to version 5.0."
Also announced today, BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 has obtained Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 4 (EAL 4+) certification (see separate release). The Common Criteria is an international standard for validating that IT products meet specific security requirements. Certifications are recognized by 26 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 is available today for IBM(R) Lotus(R) Domino(R) and Microsoft(R) Exchange. For more information, visit http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/server.
(i) BlackBerry Device Software 5.0 is scheduled to be available later this year.
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